Aquinas bot­tles up North­west, wins 5A ti­tle

The Wichita Eagle (Sunday) - - Calendar - BY TAY­LOR ELDRIDGE

St. Thomas Aquinas pre­vailed in a bat­tle of un­beat­ens on Sat­ur­day af­ter­noon at Pitts­burg State’s Carnie Smith Sta­dium, beat­ing Wichita North­west 49-28 for the Kansas Class 5A high school cham­pi­onship.

Saints sopho­more run­ning back Tank Young rushed for 329 yards and four touch­downs.

The win was a mile­stone for Aquinas coach Randy Dreil­ing. Af­ter guid­ing Hutchin­son to seven state cham­pi­onships in eight years, he left to pur­sue a new chal­lenge at Aquinas. The cul­mi­na­tion of his work — Aquinas lost in the 5A ti­tle game to Bishop Car­roll in 2014 and 2017 — was re­warded on Sat­ur­day.

Aquinas (12-0) scored three first-quar­ter touch­downs to es­tab­lish a 21-0 lead. The Saints cap­i­tal­ized off a North­west turnover, then Young broke a 47-yard touch­down run and Tate Raboin found Theo Gra­bill on a play-ac­tion pass for a 33-yard score.

“We talk a lot about mo­men­tum and we call it rid­ing the wave and know­ing when to get off the wave,” North­west coach Steve Martin said. “We didn’t do a good job of get­ting off the wave, but give credit to Aquinas.”

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